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Altissimo That Hits Your Hard

2590 Views 48 Replies 30 Participants Last post by  Jqsax
I'd love to hear what you think about the placement of altissimo in solos. I listen to Gerald Albright do the unimaginable, but honestly it often sounds more like acrobatics in the "look what I can do" category than an artful, or soulful expression. Conversely when I listen to Sanborn's use of of altissimo on the album version of Soul Serenade I get chills going up the back of my neck. I'm not trying to down play Albright by any means. He's probably as clean with altissimo on alto as anyone dead or alive. But honestly sometimes I think he should just get a sopranino. LOL

We spend a lifetime developing the skills needed to get altissimo in our tool box, but how do those of you that are proficient with it decide where to apply it so that it is more than just "look what I can do"?
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I use it more for effect than with fluid lines; unless we're talking about the lower range from around F#3 to A3.
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I’ve never really been a fan of someone just hitting that one note up high for an effect.
Depends upon the style of music and the audience you're playing for. Certainly a bunch of Berklee grads are going to tune out, but that's not your average audience. Anyhow, what I meant by "effect" would be this, beginning at the 1:47 mark:
Almost all of the modern 'straight ahead' players like Joel Frahm, Chris Potter, Melissa Aldana, Patrick Bartley, Mark Turner, Godwin Louis, and many others I can't think of now off the top of my head, use altissimo as a 'natural' part of the horn. There's much less of the 'OMG, I'm STRAINING up here' than there used to be.
I consider Potter to be a technician up top, but I prefer Lenny overall. As for straining, that's showmanship, and I'd never begrudge that.

Funny, I just caught Melissa Aldana with the Navy Commodores from about fifteen feet away, just as I did Potter some years ago. With Potter, as I said, he's a technician and I have clear memories of his playing up top. If Aldana spent much time up there, I didn't notice. Just wasn't a take away from the performance. Which I suppose, is probably a very good thing as she had to be up there at times.
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Oh, well, if this is going to be about the best of the best... Sorry. Sigurd still rules.
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